Commentary on the German EU Council Presidency 2020

Johanna’s two pennies:

A half year of Germany’s presidency of the council of the European Union is done. Big deal right? Well, I should probably add it’s the 12th time for Germany. Anyway, the PR-Team did a great job promoting this not so one-time-only event. In the very beginning they gave us the chance to admire all the great projects Germany had planned for their half year. We indeed got the chance to even get several different, yet not really different, lists of topics. So I took on the tremendous task of working through what was planned and even more important what happened to all those plans. 

But let’s put the PR work to the side and let’s have a look at the actual content: First of all – most of you will have recognised it – we’re living through a global pandemic so all the pretty plans had to be adjusted to our unfortunate circumstances. But don’t panic, it’s just a wee bit! As if anyone here was really hit hard by that little virus thing. It clearly was completely doable to keep up with the original plans, such as “Europe’s recovery” (I don’t know what from either), making Europe stronger, more equitable and more sustainable. Why not save the world right away?

Sounds all ambitious and candid. But can the Germans hold up to their promises? Did the outcome match planned achievements? Let’s take a closer look:

  1. overcoming the corona pandemic and economic recovery

That goddamn virus doesn’t seem to be impressed by any agenda. It’s still our biggest problem and it sure will be for quite a spell/while. We all hoped this might be over by now, but surprise here we are with even some mutations and terrific economic fits /conditions. The german federal foreign office takes pride in having “strengthened the European Union both internally and externally” by an “outward show of unity backed by inward solidarity”. I didn’t see much solidarity when european countries were bargaining about medical equipment last spring and export restrictions were put in place.

To see the positive side: many people worked incredibly hard to invent a vaccine in pretty much no time. I guess to accomplish that is pretty cool. Thanks out there!

  1. a stronger and more innovative Europe

I don’t really have much to say about this one. That should always be an important and constant aim, but to make it a priority during those times? Besides this is extremely vague. If you know what’s meant in detail, please let me know!

  1. an upright Europe

Now that’s a great topic. Actually at our general meeting in 2020 we have passed a whole application about it and snuck our key demand into the 2020s BuKo lead proposal of JEF Germany.

  1. a sustainable Europe

“The EU wants to reduce its CO2 emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030, and by 2050 we want to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent. At least 30 percent of EU spending over the next seven years should go into climate protection.”

Not bad! If it works out. Even better if we surpass these numbers, but I don’t wanna become too optimistic. Anyway we and uncountable many people especially from our younger generation will definitely hold you to your promises. 

  1. a strong Europe in the world

Okay guys, I see it’s important but we had to fix some issues on our own little union. Right! I’m speaking of Brexit. You can already guess what I think of it. I’m still unbelievably sad Britain decided to leave us and I just hope we can come closer again in the future. Nonetheless (and all problems with it aside) it was actually managed to get to an agreement. Given that we couldn’t be certain about that up to the very last minute (literally), I’m impressed. 

Apropos/ speaking of I’m impressed; that’s exactly what I think of these 6 month of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU. There was a horrendous wide agenda and in way more fields than I expected was made some mentionable progress.

With all the hard work, it is of course a pleasure to be able to admire the extraordinary good work-life balance of our favourite Minister of State on Twitter regularly . 

Enjoy your meal, Micheal!

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